How to get a teaching licence Thailand

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So, you’ve seen the ornate temples, tasted delectable street food, basked in the sunshine on glistening beaches and navigated through bustling markets? You’ve fallen head over heels for Thailand, haven’t you? And who can blame you? Now, you’re contemplating how you can make a more permanent pit stop in the Land of Smiles without exhausting your savings or becoming a permanent beach bum. One practical route to extend your Thai adventure is by becoming a peddler of knowledge — a language teacher. Yes, you’ve probably come across one too many Western faces leading classrooms if you’ve been exploring the country a bit. However, despite those rumours in hostel bars, teaching English in Thailand requires more than a Western face (shocking, right?). To thrive as an educator and get a more permanent position, you’ll need a teaching licence.

So, let’s break down the steps you need to take to get that teaching licence in Thailand.

What is the Teachers Council of Thailand (TCT)?

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The Teachers Council of Thailand, often referred to as the TCT, or Khrusapha in Thai, is the official body responsible for issuing permanent teaching licences in Thailand. Established in 1999 as part of the National Education Act, the TCT has a multitude of pivotal roles.

Beyond the granting of teaching licences, the TCT sets professional standards, handles licence distribution and revocation, ensures the upkeep of professional standards and ethics, and works towards the development of the teaching profession and educational administration.

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The TCT condenses all the necessary paperwork and prerequisites as part of the licensing process in Thailand, with the educational requirement being a primary focus. Composed of highly qualified individuals from the education sector, the TCT’s role extends to providing guidance to the government, albeit without the power to shape legislation.

Managed by government officials from the Department of Education, relations between the TCT and the ministry can sometimes be contentious when a new government, and therefore a new Minister of Education, comes to power, leading to potential differences in ideology and policy.

Do you need a licence to teach in Thailand?

Well, that depends on where you plan to teach. Schools in Thailand are basically split into two types: ‘Formal’ and ‘Non-Formal’. Formal schools are your regular schools where students of the same age study in the same class. They follow the lessons set by the Thailand Ministry of Education. Whether it’s a public school or private, if it’s a formal school, teachers must follow the TCT’s rules about having a teaching licence.

On the other hand, non-formal schools often are places like language centres or maybe even cooking schools. Here, while they still follow a programme closely watched over by the Ministry of Education, they don’t need to follow the TCT’s rules. This means if you’re a foreigner who wants to teach English there, you don’t need to worry about all the TCT rules.

To put it simply, if you’re teaching at a regular school, you’ll need to meet the TCT’s rules. These rules are there because there’s a big need in Thailand for good English-speaking teachers, and they want to keep the teaching quality high.

If you don’t have a degree in education, you don’t need a full five-year TCT licence right away as a foreign teacher. Instead, you can get a two-year professional temporary licence to get you started (more on this below). This is because Thailand really wants to improve its people’s English skills. So, they came up with a shorter licence, also called a ‘waiver’, to make it easier for teachers to start teaching English.

What are the requirements to get the TCT licence for foreign teachers?

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The Teachers Council of Thailand (TCT) has put forward specific criteria for foreign teachers desiring a five-year teaching licence in Thailand. Here are the key requirements (note that these requirements may change from time to time):

  1. You must be at least 20 years of age.
  2. You need to have at least one of the following academic qualifications:
  • A Bachelor’s degree in education from a recognized university or institute.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in a different field plus a teaching licence from another country.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field with a one-year graduate diploma specialized in teaching or education.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field, along with other professional credentials that meet the Teachers’ Council of Thailand’s (TCT) standards.
  1. You need at least one year of documented teaching experience.
  2. You must have a Thai work permit.
  3. You must have the correct visa from Thailand’s Immigration Bureau.

Additionally, there are certain characteristics the TCT deems unacceptable for teachers:

  1. Conducting oneself in an immoral manner or displaying improper behavioural traits.
  2. Being unqualified or inexperienced.
  3. Having a criminal conviction that led to imprisonment.

These requirements aim to ensure that every foreign teacher qualifies to provide a high standard of education.

What is a temporary teaching licence?

A temporary teaching licence in Thailand acts as a stepping-stone for teachers to meet the requisites of the standard teaching licence. Essentially a two-year waiver of the full five-year teaching licence conditions. It helps set the pace for the teacher to align with the Teachers Council of Thailand’s (TCT) requirements. This temporary provision gives teachers time to meet the mandated qualifications to earn the full five-year teaching licence.

The application for this temporary licence is typically handled by the employing school or agency due to the complexities of the process, particularly given the documentation is in Thai. Now, the TCT isn’t in the business of issuing endless temporary permits. They allow only three such licences, affording the teacher a window of six years in total to bridge all requirements of the TCT.

What if you already have a teaching licence from another country?

If you’re looking to get a teaching licence in Thailand and you’ve got one from another country, it’s a good idea to include a copy of it in your application. This could smooth out your application. If you’re already a qualified teacher with experience, you might find this process even easier if you meet all the requirements and provide all the paperwork they ask for. The school where you work should help you get all these papers ready.

What should you do if your teaching licence is rejected?

How to get a teaching licence Thailand | News by Thaiger
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Sometimes, the people at the TCT might need more detail about the information or certificates you’ve given them. This could vary from proof of your graduation, to an authorised letter from your university affirming the same. The TCT usually provides ample opportunity for this. As long as there’s no big problem, there should be no reason for them not to give a teaching licence.

In case when your application is not approved, you can explore other alternatives. Language schools or universities, for example, don’t require a specific licence.

Obtaining a teaching licence in Thailand is feasible with a careful approach and compliance with stipulated requirements. Your employing school will provide vital guidance, and alternatives exist should this path not come to fruition.

Teaching in Thailand

Cita Catellya

Cita Catellya is a journalist and writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter 5 years ago, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence. Cita writes in both English and her native Bahasa Indonesia

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